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A Month of Tomorrows

A Month of Tomorrows

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A Month of Tomorrows

ratings:
4/5 (4 ratings)
Length:
355 pages
5 hours
Released:
Dec 26, 2014
ISBN:
9781310661754
Format:
Book

Description

A war hero's tale isn't always about war

WWII hero Samuel Gable has weeks to live. Eighty-eight years old, his body ravaged by cancer, he’s full of unrest for reasons that have nothing to do with the horrid disease. He has secrets to divulge, and local writer Pete Swift agrees to document what he assumes are a few tales of war. As Samuel recalls perilous days spent in the jungles of the South Pacific, however, Pete begins to live vicariously through Samuel’s stories. A kinship grows as the saga moves from the deadly battlefield to one of the great love stories of all time, as Samuel recalls his love affair with Callie, the dark-haired beauty he fell in love with before being shipped off to war.

Samuel’s stories weave the past and the present, and the reasons for his unrest begin to unfold. Pete comes to learn that Samuel’s son, Caleb, left home abruptly thirty years ago due to a tragic accident that ripped the family apart. Meanwhile, Pete finds himself drawn to Samuel’s daughter, Gabby, who moved back home to take care of her dying father. With Pete, Gabby has a shoulder to cry on and a diversion from the impending death that awaits her father. Their chemistry sets up a passionate collision course that threatens to undermine Samuel and Pete’s relationship, not to mention Pete’s marriage.

Both Samuel and Pete are burdened by situation and circumstance, but for entirely different reasons. Set in a backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Tennessee, these unlikely friends are in a race against time to heal the wounds of their hearts.

Released:
Dec 26, 2014
ISBN:
9781310661754
Format:
Book

About the author

Chuck Walsh is a graduate of the University of South Carolina, and discovered a passion for writing in 2004. Since then, he has written human-interest articles for a dozen publications. He also coauthored Faces of Freedom (featured on Sean Hannity’s book list), a book that recognizes the noble lives of U.S. soldiers who died while fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan. His first fiction novel, Shadows on Iron Mountain, is about a killer roaming the backwoods of East Tennessee.He has also written A Month of Tomorrows, a memoir of sorts that weaves between the jungles of the Philippines and the rolling hills of Tennessee, seen through the eyes of Samuel Gable, a WWII war hero down to his final days on earth. Chuck lives in Columbia, SC with his wife Sandy. They have three children: Jessica, Brent, and Stephanie.Chuck, a former baseball player, is an avid fiction reader, and when he’s not working on his novels, is busy reading the works of others. His favorite writer is Cormac McCarthy, whom he considers the greatest writer of our generation.


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A Month of Tomorrows - Chuck Walsh

A Month of Tomorrows

Chuck Walsh

Smashwords Edition

Smashwords Edition, License Notes

This book is protected under the copyright laws of the United States of America. Any reproduction or other unauthorized use of the material or artwork herein is prohibited.

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only.  This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people.  If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient.  If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to Smashwords.com and purchase your own copy.  Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

Vinspire Publishing

Ladson, South Carolina

www.vinspirepublishing.com

A Month of Tomorrows

Copyright ©2014 Chuck Walsh

Cover illustration copyright © 2014 Elaina Lee/For the Muse Designs

Printed and bound in the United States of America. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by an information storage and retrieval system-except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review to be printed in a magazine, newspaper, or on the Web-without permission in writing from the publisher. For information, please contact Vinspire Publishing, LLC, P.O. Box 1165, Ladson, SC 29456-1165.

All characters in this work are purely fictional and have no existence outside the imagination of the author and have no relation whatsoever to anyone bearing the same name or names.  They are not even distantly inspired by any individual known or unknown to the author, and all incidents are pure invention.

ISBN: 978-0-9890632-6-5

PUBLISHED BY VINSPIRE PUBLISHING, LLC

Dedication

This book is dedicated to Rubin Stout, one of the finest men I’ve ever known. Rubin mixes the perfect blend of manhood and mischief to enrich the lives of those who know and love him.

This book is also dedicated to my family. To my wife, Sandy – this wouldn’t be possible if not for your love and support. Your continual faith was my guiding light. To my children, Jessica, Brent, and Stephanie – thank you for providing eager ears to my far-fetched hopes and dreams. I love you all.

To Mom - thank you for teaching me kindness and compassion. I love you. To Dad – I miss you and wish you were here, but I feel your spirit every day.

Most importantly, thanks to God for teaching me that all good things happen in His time, not mine.

Chapter One

Porter Bennett’s Oldsmobile rolled along the dirt road known to the locals as Vaught’s Holler. The dry summer had hardened the narrow lane and a haze of yellow rose up behind the car. The dawn had softened night’s ceiling of black so that storm clouds rolling in from the west were visible above the skyline of Jefferson Mountain. Porter spotted the light on Samuel Gable’s porch, the same one that had cut shadows into the hollow for over sixty years. He wheeled his car into the driveway, and through the windshield the house looked peaceful, surrounded by pear trees and purple larkspurs. He turned off the engine, heavy in thought to the callousness of life.

Porter had been Samuel’s best friend since childhood, war and marriage the only events able to separate them. They were a fraternity of two, joined at the proverbial hip by the rainbow trout that ran the fast waters of Birch Tree Creek. They were never mistaken as choirboys, taking great pleasure in igniting outhouses and chasing hogs through Sunday morning worship services. But the passage of time had slowly sapped the fire within them, flattening them in ways they’d never thought possible. As if battling old age wasn’t enough, the circumstance at hand made life as gloomy as hell.

Gabby waited on the porch. She stood at the top of the eight crusty concrete steps that led to the front door, steps that marked the entrance to a home trying to hold at bay a harsh reality of the present while fighting to keep hold of its past. Gabby wore faded blue jeans and a gray sweatshirt with Appalachian State printed in black. Though she wore no makeup, her face looked soft and tender, evoking more the look of a college coed than a woman staring down the half-century mark. She slid her fingers through her shoulder-length brown hair, binding loose strands behind her ears. She always did this when she was worried.

Thanks for comin’, Dr. Bennett, she said. Porter guessed by her tired eyes that it had been a sleepless night. Daddy’s in the parlor.

Mornin’, Gabby. Porter placed his arm around her shoulders, and she touched her head to his chin. Why the parlor?

Said he’s looked out over the spring pond for most of his days. He decided it was the best place to spend his last ones. God, I hate it when he talks like that. Anyway, I moved his hospital bed in there two days ago.

The house was two stories, made of wood. The paint, chipped and faded to a pale tint of beige, told the story of a home that had survived three generations of hard life. Inside, the house was neat and tidy. Gabby saw to that. She led Porter through the living room, its walls covered in dark wood panels. A large hearth, laid in stones of slate, lay quiet and unused. Above the fireplace was an oak mantel with trinkets and collections from trips taken long ago. Above the mantel was a black-and-white photo of Rod and Eula Gable. The oval frame was made of ornate cherry. The picture of the handsome couple, taken over a century ago, appeared ghostlike, their dark eyes witness to ancient secrets. The outer edges of the picture were smoky gray, giving the couple the appearance they were peering out of clouds from some unknown world.

Gabby led Porter through the kitchen, the tile floor creaking as they walked past the wood stove. Porter set his black leather medicine bag on a doily-draped coffee table.

Blackie, Samuel’s black Labrador, rose from the floor beside Samuel’s bed. He moved alongside Porter’s leg, and Porter knelt. He scratched under Blackie’s ear, and the soft eyes of the strong dog looked about the room, his tongue hanging curved and wet. Porter forced a smile. Mornin’, Sam.

Samuel watched a pair of mallards glide across the pond outside his window and nodded to acknowledge the presence of his best friend. Porter.

Gabby tells me you ain’t feelin’ so hot.

She worries more than she has a right to. Too much like her momma.

Porter rose, and Blackie resumed his position at the foot of the bed. Well, since I took the time to drive over here, how ’bout you either feed me breakfast, or let me check your vital signs?

Gabby, fix the old fart somethin’ to eat. You sure know how to root out free meals, don’t you?

What’s the point in making house calls if there’s no food involved? the good doctor asked. I know I’m treating you for physical ailments. Didn’t know I should be treating you for senility too.

If I only had the strength, Samuel said, shaking his head, I’d beat the tar out of you.

Gabby went to the kitchen, and soon the sounds of pots and pans clanged a subtle, soothing tune. Porter checked Samuel’s blood pressure, heart rate, and placed a thermometer under Samuel’s tongue. Samuel shook his head as he clamped down on the cold glass, murmuring some indiscernible words of unhappiness. Samuel’s silver hair was tousled, and not quite as thick and wavy as it was when he was the heartthrob of the county a lifetime ago. His chocolate-brown eyes looked tired, though they still burned with valor.

When Porter removed the thermometer, Samuel said, That thing tastes like it’s been in a hog’s ass. Don’t you ever clean it?

Porter let go a cackling laugh. I clean it for everyone but you. I want you to taste what you’re full of. He put his supplies in his bag. Vitals are good. You’re not quite as strong as Old Man Cason’s mule anymore, but I’ll be damned if you still ain’t as stubborn. Gonna leave you an antibiotic since you’re runnin’ a bit of a fever.

Samuel had been diagnosed with lung cancer a year prior. He felt no ill effects, but went to see Porter just to stop Gabby from badgering him. Samuel had not had a physical in almost fifteen years. Porter notwithstanding, Samuel thought doctors were pill-pushing sorts who only looked to prolong sickness, not eliminate it. Except for his birth and a bout with malaria in the war, he’d made it eighty-six years just fine without medical assistance. He’d seen his visit with Porter that fateful day as a chance to set up a fishing trip. Unfortunately the visit led to something much more. X-rays detected a spot on Samuel’s lung. Within a week, he was on his way to an oncologist to see what could be done.

Gabby walked in with two light blue plates filled with fried eggs and country ham still sizzling in its sweet juices. Porter retrieved a straight-back chair from the kitchen table and placed it beside Samuel’s hospital bed. The two friends ate their food in silence, as just being in each other’s company was all the communication they needed.

They watched the pond lighten as the sun made its first appearance above Shady Mountain. Thunder rumbled from the storm clouds to the west, invisible waves of sounds seeking the very corners of the hills and valleys before fading into silence. The sun winked, brilliant orange, as if it knew the clouds would soon hide it from view. Outside the house, two thick maples stood side by side on the backside of the pond. They cast shadows across half of the tiny lake, making the water appear as though it were a sparkling eye of green and yellow slowly opening its lid. Trout skimmed along the water’s edge, adding movement to the otherwise still water.

Want you to do somethin’ for me, Samuel said, cutting a fat-laced piece of ham.

Drivin’ out here to visit your wrinkly tail was enough. I’m done for the day. Samuel smiled, though Porter felt certain it was forced.

I want you to help me find somebody that might be interested in writin’ somethin’.

What do you mean?

I’d like for someone to write about my time spent in the war. I never told of what went on over there. After I’m cold and in the ground, I’d like to leave somethin’ to Gabby, and to Caleb, if he ever has an interest, so they might know a little of what we went through.

You mean to tell me after all these years, you finally want to talk about what went on over there? I thought you were taking that to your grave.

I will if we don’t find somebody soon. I’ve made my mind up. I want to get it out while I’m still able.

Well, let’s see. He worked with his tongue at a piece of ham caught between his teeth. How ’bout the Swift boy? He writes for magazines, newspapers, and the like. Abigail Swift’s young’un. Want me to call her and see if she’ll talk to him?

Would you? See if he’s got an interest. He’ll probably think it’d be a big waste of time.

***

The phone rang three times before Pete realized it. He tapped away at his keyboard, aggravated that someone was interrupting his train of thought. Let the answering machine pick up. Surely it was another telemarketer promising free steak knives or unheard-of low prices on aluminum siding. When Pete heard his mother’s soft voice on the machine, he jumped from his chair. Mom? he mumbled into the cordless phone. Sorry. Couldn’t find where I’d set the phone.

Honey, I hate to interrupt your work, so I won’t keep you long. She always tried to refrain from calling during daylight hours even though Pete did not technically work in an office.

It’s okay, Mom. What is it?

Porter Bennett, from my Sunday school class, asked me to call you. He wants to know if you’d be interested in interviewing Samuel Gable.

Who?

Sammy Gable. He lives near Jefferson Mountain. Your father knew him.

Yeah, I think I remember the name. Why does he want to be interviewed? Is he looking to have something written for a local magazine, or the Tomahawk newspaper?

No, nothing like that. He’s battling cancer, and the doctors say he’s only got a few months at best to live. So he wants someone to record his days fighting in the war, for his children.

I can’t, Mom. I’ve got two articles due this week, and that’s after I finish the Karen Landry story. Besides, I’ve got a truckload of query letters to mail to agents for my book.

I know you’re busy. But I don’t think he’s asking for you to give him a lot of time. Maybe you could find an hour or so. Remember what I said, he doesn’t have much time left. Besides, I think you’d really like meeting him. He’s a special man.

Pete drew in a deep breath and looked out into a thick group of pines outside his window. He always had trouble telling his mother no. Well, maybe I could make it over to see him sometime later this week. I couldn’t stay long, though.

Pete wrote Samuel’s number on a notepad and promised he’d call. He returned to his computer, struggling to recapture his train of thought. He tapped his fingers on the keyboard, trying to perfect the closing paragraph. He’d spent six weeks on Karen’s story, a twenty-four-year-old fighter pilot from Crystal Creek whose chopper was shot down in Iraq. Pete had met Karen’s parents through an acquaintance. He’d read about her death in the paper, but had no idea how true a hero she was until he talked with her parents one morning in their living room. It was a gut-wrenching meeting, and he fought back tears as they shared the heartache of losing their only child. Pete kept thinking of Kate during the interview, wondering how he could survive if his only child were taken away from him. He kept a picture of Karen on the desk beside his computer as a reminder that she would never dance with her father at her wedding, never get to see her child’s first steps, never hold the hand of her grandchild. In the picture she stood smiling, in the arms of her mother and father, the day she graduated flight school. A smile that knew not the dismal fate that lay ahead.

***

Pete hadn’t noticed darkness had fallen until he heard the front door open. He stretched his arms, deciding to reread Karen’s story just one more time before he submitted it. Hey, baby, Sarah said as she entered the kitchen. Pete pulled the latest copy from his printer. You finished Karen’s story yet?

Maybe. I think I need to go over it one more time.

You’ll ‘one more time’ it a hundred times. Let me read it. I’ll let you know if it’s worthy.

Pete rose from his chair and yawned. Not yet. Don’t know if I’m ready for anyone to read it. There were two things in life, outside of family, that drove Pete to strive for perfection. The first was baseball, and since he’d hung up his cleats after college, the sport played no part in his daily life. The second was writing, and in a way it provided a chance to compete again, on paper instead of the baseball diamond.

I got a call from Mom this morning. She said some man named Samuel Gable wants me to write about something he did, or went through, in World War II. I promised her I’d call him, maybe spend an hour or so with him. He glanced over the intro paragraph of Karen Landry’s article. I really don’t have the time to do it, though. Should have told her no. I’ve got to learn to say no.

You can’t say no to your mother. Then again, you can’t say no to anybody. You’re just a pushover.

Well, that’s about to change. I’ve got my sights set on something big here, and I can’t keep letting others get in the way.

But that’s a part of life. Do you want to live on a deserted island where no one can bother you? To leave you alone so you can write without any interruption? Ain’t gonna happen.

It’s not a bad idea, though. He laughed.

You’ll turn into a lonely hermit.

Yes, but a successful one.

All depends on how you measure success.

Pete shook his head and began to pore over his article again.

So what’s the story with this Gable person? Sarah asked. She looked at the back of Pete’s head as he read, rolling her eyes as if perhaps to suggest he’d become too absorbed in his work for her liking. I mean, what was he, a prisoner of war or something?

Don’t have a clue. All I know is he’s dying, and I don’t have the time to listen to someone who won’t be paying me for my time.

Look at it as a chance to hear about things you’ve never known or experienced before. I’ll bet he has some interesting things to say.

Interesting or not, he better not plan on talking long, because I don’t plan on staying long.

Chapter Two

Pete placed three AA batteries in the pocket of his black leather jacket. He set a small brown spiral notebook on the passenger seat, along with his digital recorder. The notebook was more of a backup system, or a security blanket. Whenever Pete conducted interviews, he always had some strange fear that his recorder would malfunction, even though it was a top-of-the-line piece of electronics. He’d imagine himself sitting at his computer listening to dead air, thus having to call the person again to ask for a do-over. And so he’d write furiously during every interview, in some hieroglyphic style that he could barely make heads or tails of. Thank God for the person who invented the digital recorder.

The clock on the dash read 7:40. The car was cold and quiet. Turning the key, Pete bounced the name of Samuel Gable in his head. It seemed like he remembered hearing his father talk about Samuel when he was a boy. He couldn’t remember the nature of the conversation, or why Samuel’s name had come up. He didn’t give it much thought.

It was early October, and the morning air was thin and crisp. The winds contained a sharpness to them, the kind that whispered the change of season in the high country. The sun, surrounded in baby blue, sat above Shady Mountain, casting shades of purple on both Shady and Jefferson Mountains. Along Watauga Valley, which split the mountain ranges, grassy hillsides rose in waves of hunter green. Wheat fields rustled in the breeze, soon to be cut and harvested. As Pete drove along the winding valley highway of State Road 84, known to locals as Elizabethton Highway, he looked out at the farmhouses that stood timeless, a link to the hard, simple past of the Appalachians. Along the valley Sinking Creek carved out a snaky path, running like the vein of a lightning bolt on a hot summer’s evening. Roby Nichol’s cattle and saddle horses grazed along the highway in no particular hurry. The seven-mile ride to the Gable house was a soothing one for Peter Swift, freelance writer.

When Gabby opened the door, her delicate smile caught Pete off guard, as did the bold look of her smooth, brown eyes. He’d expected Mrs. Gable to answer, or perhaps a housekeeper of some sort. When Gabby extended her hand, the soft warmth of it wasn’t lost on Pete.

Good morning, she said. You must be Pete.

Yes, I am. And you are?

Gabby. The daughter. Please come in.

She led him through the kitchen, and he looked at the clock above the stove as he followed her. Exactly eight o’clock. Pete wanted to be on time, as always, but he reckoned Samuel, being a military man, was not one to be kept waiting.

Mornin’, Mr. Gable, Pete said as he entered the parlor. Samuel was looking at a black-and-white photo. Blackie rose, barked once, and when Samuel snapped his fingers, the dog returned to its lying position.

Beautiful dog.

Let me show you somethin’, Samuel said. He was not interested in introductions. Gabby brought Pete a chair from the den. This here’s four of my army buddies. Two of ’em died in the Battle of Leyte. That’s me right there. His finger trembled slightly as he pointed. "The fella kneelin’ beside me was Bryson Steele. I pulled that boy off the battlefield after the Japs tossed grenades in his foxhole. That was a hell of a day. A hell of a day."

Samuel handed Pete the grainy picture. The men stood alongside a banyan tree with massive limbs extending above their heads like gnarly fingers of pale wood. Long, fan-like limbs of nipa palms grew thick from the ground behind them, forming an interwoven wall in front of sky-reaching fig trees covered with vines. Pete looked closely and noticed Samuel squatting low, his elbows resting on his knees. His right hand held a floppy khaki hat. His face wore no expression. Behind him, a slender soldier stood, shirtless, the outline of his ribs visible. A cigarette hung from his lips. Beside them sat a man on a cot, turned and looking over his shoulder as if the camera had sneaked up on him like an enemy soldier. Behind him another stood, looking down at a pocketknife he appeared to be folding. Of the three men whose eyes faced the camera, Pete noticed a hollowness in them all. It wasn’t sadness they showed, but a lack of emotion entirely.

That’s a powerful picture, Pete said, looking one last time before handing it to Samuel. Pete sat. How are you feeling?

You a doctor?

No, sir.

Well, unless you are, don’t ask me how I’m feelin’. Samuel waved his finger toward Pete. I want no sympathy. If you’re interested in hearin’ what I got to say about the war, let’s get started. Otherwise you may as well go home.

Pete raised his eyebrows slightly, and for a brief second was tempted to call the whole thing off. Instead, he removed his recorder from his coat pocket, opened his notebook, and removed the pen clipped to the front of it. Well, since I have no idea what it is you want me to do, can you clue me in? Pete’s statement was purposely tinted with sarcasm.

I want you to write somethin’ about my days in the war, Samuel said as if he thought Pete was clueless. Especially in the Philippines. I’d like for Gabby to know a little bit about what we went through overseas. Somethin’ I can leave for her after I’m gone. He rubbed his chin. For Caleb too, I guess. I don’t know.

Who?

Never mind. Anyways, what do you say we stop the fiddle-fartin’ and get to work.

Work? Wasn’t this supposed to be an informal chat about the war? I need to let you know I don’t have a lot of time to devote to you.

What’s the notebook for?

In case the recorder doesn’t work.

Why wouldn’t it work? Don’t you have good batteries? Did you buy a cheap brand?

No, I didn’t buy a cheap brand, and yes, the batteries are good. I just feel safer having a backup in case the recorder malfunctions.

Well, put the pen and pad away. I’ll feel at ease if I can just talk without havin’ to worry whether you’re keepin’ up with me or not.

Pete shook his head, smirked, and turned on the recorder. It’s all yours. Pete checked the volume and set it on the bed beside Samuel’s arm.

Samuel looked toward the bottom corner of the room, as though he were a man looking to remove himself from his sickbed and into another time. He glanced out at the pond as if he were searching for the ducks. You know, I was born right here in this house, he began. Course that was three hun’ert years ago. I still remember Momma sittin’ by the kitchen window when I left home to join the service. Maybe I should start there.

***

April, 1942

Samuel packed the last of the T-shirts sitting on his bed into his green duffel bag. He closed the canvas bag and looked out the bedroom window into his mother’s flower garden. Red, pink, yellow, and white blooms covered the tall lattice fence. Plump bumblebees moved about them as though they were the last food source on Jefferson Mountain. Looking in the yard, he smiled as he thought of the day when he had run a polecat through the garden. He couldn’t have been more than nine or ten. His cousin Vita had sat on the ground that day, her legs curled inside her pastel, flowing dress. She read a book of poetry by E.E. Cummings, and looked a little too prim for Samuel’s liking. The polecat had provided a necessary antidote to stifle her high-society musings.

He tossed the bag over his shoulder and glanced back at his room a final time. On into and through the kitchen to the living room he went. He looked at the picture of Mom and Dad above the fireplace, noticing the youthfulness in their eyes. He made it to the front door, hoping that Momma wouldn’t be there. He didn’t want to see her cry, and knew it would only make leaving harder. Besides, they had exchanged their good-byes in the kitchen the night before. His brother Bert stood on the front porch, holding his black fedora nervously in his hand.

You ready? Bert asked.

Samuel only nodded, though he felt certain he didn’t look convincing. They stepped off the porch and onto the dirt driveway. As Samuel opened the car door and tossed his duffel bag inside, he saw Mom standing at the living-room window. Tears rolled down her face, and Samuel tried to smile away her worries. He lowered his head and slid into the front seat of the clunky Ford.

The Tennessee dust rolled behind them as the brothers drove down Vaught’s Holler to the gray gravel of State Road 84. The men rode in silence, and Samuel studied the twists and turns of the winding road as if burying them in his mind. On they drove, both wanting to talk, both wanting to say what weighed heavy on their hearts. The ride toward town, a small mountain hamlet called Carter Springs, seemed way too short.

How long’s the trip to Fort Jackson? Bert finally asked, breaking the silence.

Don’t know. Think we have to make a few stops along the way. Samuel looked at the papers on his lap. All I know is we’re supposed to be on the bus at the courthouse by nine.

You nervous?

Nah. It’s what I’ve been wantin’. That’s why I enlisted.

I’m worried about Momma.

Make sure you take good care of her while I’m gone. You’re all she’s got now, so don’t screw it up.

Quit your belly achin’. I’ll take care of her.

If I find out you’re not doin’ your job, you’ll receive a whippin’ of major proportions when I come home.

I ain’t scared. Bert tried to smile.

Bert looked across the hillsides and tapped his fingers on the steering wheel. He loved driving the winding stretch of highway that bridged Jefferson Mountain with Carter Springs. But not on that morning. You know, I figured I’d be carryin’ Momma to watch you play ball, not totin’ you to town to hop on an army bus.

Plans change.

But that was a plan you’d mapped out since you were a kid.

"True. But

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  • (5/5)
    What a great story. Only to find out at the end that is truly based on a real person's life! I have to admit that the main character, Pete, was less than likable for me throughout the story. The ending seemed a bit forced after his interaction with Charlie and his family. But, it kept me engaged and was definitely a page turner. I would read more by this author, it was well-written and the plot was interesting.
  • (3/5)
    With a well written and interesting story Chuck Walsh leads the reader through an interconnected web of two tales. The novel, A Month of Tomorrows, takes place in the 21st century rural south but also in various WWII arenas as a dieing veteran recalls his previously hidden stories to a struggling writer. While at times the story gets too bogged down in meaningless details, it concludes as a good read and was often difficult to put down.7/28/14
  • (3/5)
    I received this ebook for free in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed are entirely my own.This was a hard book for me to get through and that surprised me. First of all, I'm a Navy wife and have been for more than 15 years. I love this country and those who serve it so when I read the premise of this book I assumed I would love it. I loved some parts and hated other parts. All the parts with Samuel (the WWII vet) I loved. He was a believable and strong character. The other main character, Pete, was also a believable and strong character but I hated him. I understood his weaknesses and trials, I just got so frustrated with his inability to see the parallels between his own struggles and Samuel's. I did not find his wife to be terribly believable - there wasn't enough character development for me to care about her or buy into her decisions.The writing was beautiful and the author did a great job of immersing the reader in a realistic setting. I felt like I was there in Tennessee and in the jungles of the South Pacific. Overall I enjoyed the story but I would have liked a little more character development with the minor characters and a more likeable protagonist (Pete). The story just dragged for me and I am glad I read it, but it took me a long time to finish and I was tempted each time to pick up another book to read instead.****** SPOILER ********Pete and Sarah making up at the end of the book was just so anti-climactic. Yes, I believe in marriage and wanted them to work things out, but the author gave us no reason to believe that they had. The only lead-up to the scene where they got back together was the back story of how Callie died. Huh? I'm sorry, I've been married for almost 20 years and you have good times and bad times. I get that. I don't get how times got bad enough that Sarah would move out and then just forgive Pete and come home because he says "I'm sorry." Real life doesn't work that way. (She moved out too fast and came home too fast).
  • (5/5)
    Absolutely could not put this book down. This was one of the best books I have ever read. I loved the characters and the wonderful story line. It was very easy to read and follow the story and it brought me to tears several times. I'm glad Pete and Sarah worked things out and that they both became close to Samuel and Gabby. I will read more of Chuck Walsh's books. Thank you for the opportunity to read it and review it.
  • (2/5)
    Chuck Walsh clearly has a love of Tennessee - the setting for A Month of Tomorrows. He writing gives the reader a clear picture of the small town where most of the story takes place. His protagonist is a dying WWII vet who relates his life story to a struggling writer over his last few months. My main concern with this book is that the focus seemed to skip about frequently and there were far too many cliched plot twists - good guy beats up bad guy and wins girl, bad guy shows up later and assaults girl, good guy gets back from war and gets revenge, prodigal son returns just in nick of time, etc.This novel's plot has potential, especially with the back country setting, but I think it could do with some reorganization and editing. Increased focus on how the war hero survived the battles in Luzon and how that affected his life and relationships, less cliches. Go deeper into some of the story lines and avoid skipping around to multiple plot twists.
  • (5/5)
    I relished this book and cannot recommend it highly enough.Samuel Gable, a World War II veteran, only has weeks to live after suffering from a terminal illness, and he wishes to leave behind an account of his life before he goes. He enlists the help of a stranger, Pete, who is a local writer, to record his story as a legacy to Samuel's family. Pete's dream is to have his first novel published, but for the present finds work wherever he can by writing articles for various magazines and newspapers. When he originally accepts Samuel's request, he does so with the expectation that he would commit a limited amount of time and approaches the project with a decided sense of detachment. However, he quickly discovers that Samuel is an extraordinary man and has an equally extraordinary life to tell. As Samuel's health deteriorates over the course of the following weeks, Pete becomes increasingly enthralled in the details of the old man's life, and his visits for interviews evolve into friendship and respect.The story unfolds in flashbacks beginning when Samuel was a young man. This technique of flashbacks and flashforwards, in my opinion, falters in some novels, but in this one it really works. The author is very effective in establishing time and place. The setting, with the exception of Samuel's time spent in the South Pacific during WWII, is almost exclusively in the Appalachian Mountains of Tennessee, where Samuel's life played out. Samuel is imperfect, as we all are, but the best values of his generation are brought to life in his character. Indeed throughout this book I was often reminded of my grandfather.This novel is enthralling, and I almost felt at the end as if I were myself standing by Samuel's deathbed and could feel the passing of a great generation.I received this book as an Early Reviewer, but that did not influence my review.
  • (5/5)
    A Month of Tomorrowsby Chuck WalshIn his novel, A Month of Tomorrow, Chuck Walsh weaves an entrancing story of past and present as World War II veteran, Samuel Gabel, recounts his life. Set in the beautiful hills of Tennessee the reader is quickly transported to a slower pace of life and surrounded with the beauty of mountains, streams and nature. As Samuel knows his cancer will soon take his life he has but one thing left undone and that is to leave his children the story of his life. Pete, a local author, begrudgingly makes the time to go out to the home place and meet with Samuel. Samuel's blunt mannerism, his passion to release what is in his heart and the awareness of being in the presence of a great man captivate Pete. He becomes enthralled with getting Samuel's story written.When I first began A Month of Tomorrows I quickly misjudged and thought this was going to be just another one of those books bouncing from present to past. Chuck Walsh altered that view quickly as his presentation of this beautiful story stole not only my attention but my heart. His characters were so well developed one could not help but want to know more about them. The storyline was gripping, exciting and at times heartbreaking. Walsh mastered the art of blending the past and present seamlessly in this writing. It flowed easily allowing the reader to quickly shift scenes as the storyteller brings us into the lives of Samuel and his family. We feel the love of a mother saying goodbye as her son leaves for war. We see the wretched environment Samuel lived in those years he was at war and as hard as it was we felt the pain and gruesome life of a soldier. We feel the excitement of falling in love. Walsh holds nothing back. Each story Samuel tells is detailed filled. it gives us life lessons and hope. And yes, it does entertain. Once a few pages in it can not be easily put down.I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves historical fiction, romance or strong, male role models.Note: I received this book in exchange for an honest review.
  • (5/5)
    A Month of Tomorrows made me think of my mother and father and what they went through during WWII. It also reinforced my belief in true love, commitment, honor and integrity. I laughed, cheered and cried, but most of all, I did not want it to end. Based on his uncle’s life, I can only imagine how Walsh looks up to that man. Hat is off, hand is on my heart!
    — CJ Loiacono